Legislation for water risk management in healthcare and aged care facilities
In February 2017, amendments were made to the Public Health Act 2005 and the Public Health Regulation 2005 to improve water risk management practices in healthcare and state residential aged care facilities:
- the Public Health Act 2005 was amended to include Chapter 2A (Water risk management plans), sections 389A, and 389B; and amended section 385 and schedule 2 (Dictionary)
- the Public Health Regulation 2005 has since been replaced by the Public Health Regulation 2018; which includes ‘Part 3 Water risk management plans’.
These amendments establish a legislative framework to:
- improve the management and control of health risks associated with the supply and use of water in hospitals and residential aged care facilities (especially health risks associated with Legionella)
- provide for greater public transparency of water testing activities being undertaken by these facilities.
The requirements apply to:
- Queensland Health hospitals with inpatients
- Queensland Health operated residential aged care facilities
- licensed private health facilities.
Private residential aged care facilities are not yet subject to the water risk management provisions. However, as water risk management plans are considered internationally as best practice, Queensland Health advocates for all health and aged care facilities to have, and operate in accordance with, a water risk management plan.
Overview of the requirements
Regulated facilities are required to:
- have a water risk management plan that addresses all water-related hazards which includes, but is not limited to, monitoring for the presence of Legionella in water used by a facility
- operate in accordance with their water risk management plan
- demonstrate both timely and appropriate remedial responses are/have been undertaken in line with their water risk management plan in response to incidents including the detection of Legionella in water used by the facility
- notify the chief executive of the Department of Health, within 1 business day from receipt of confirmation of a Legionella detection
- submit periodic reports summarising the results of Legionella tests for a prescribed facility to increase public transparency regarding water testing for Legionella being undertaken by hospitals and state aged care facilities.
Penalties apply for non-compliance with certain requirements and these reflect the significant responsibility hospitals and state aged care facilities have for proactively managing and controlling water related health risks.
Email Queensland Health at email@example.com.
Post Implementation Review
A post implementation review of the water risk management provisions was conducted that the objective of the legislation has been met, costs on health facilities were reasonable in proportion to the problem and changes to the legislation were not warranted at this time.
To view a copy of the Post Implementation Review refer to the Office of Productivity and Red Tape Reduction.